Should You Buy a Mamiya RZ67?

The Mamiya RZ67 has something approaching legendary status in the world of medium format film photography, but it’s not to everyone’s taste, as this short video makes clear. Would you buy one?

Jason Kummerfeldt of grainydays is a medium format film aficionado, and weirdly, he’s never owned what is often regarded as the ultimate medium format camera: the Mamiya RZ67. Happy with his beloved Mamiya 7, he’s not been tempted — until now. Be warned: Kummerfeldt has a dry sense of humor (to say the least).

Admittedly, the RZ67 is a tank of a camera that was designed very much with studio photographers in mind, so hauling it around the streets of Los Angeles — a city that’s not exactly suited to pedestrians  — isn’t entirely fair. A few in the YouTube comments are keen to point out that you don’t necessarily have to remove the whole back each time you want to change films. My medium format indulgence was an RB67 (long since sold, sadly), so I can’t confirm. If you’d like to offer your thoughts, let us know below.

Is the RZ67 the best medium format camera? Or is it too big for anything other than studio use?

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12 Comments

Tony Clark's picture

My last film camera was an RZProII with 110mm and 180mm lenses. In the studio or on location, I loved the system and shot 220 whenever possible to reduce film back changes. The rotating backs were great for whatever situation you were shooting and Polaroids on Fuji100C were beautiful. The L Grip makes handheld shots easier and motor drive adds to weight but you learned to balance it. Yes, I've thought about buying another kit but I have other priorities at the moment.

Kirk Darling's picture

Yep, everything you said.

I still have several 220 magazines and a Polaroid back, if anyone wants to buy them for old time's sake.

Bjarne Solvik's picture

Funny!

I just don’t get why he removes the back from the camera to reload film?
I remember how to open those backs, from my time with the RB67, it’s easy and fast:)

I just love the shutter sound, that’s brings a long lost feeling back.

But, I only get why to use one of these if you actually make analog prints.
I would not in my wildest dreams consider going true all that to then make a scan.

Put in a roll of Tri-X, push it a stop and make prints in the darkroom:)

TIMOTHY HUNOLD's picture

That shutter sound was magnificent

Giovanni Aprea's picture

I wish some day to get a RZ67ProII and a couple lenses for portrait and the Polaroid back, it gotta be very fun to use

TIMOTHY HUNOLD's picture

I've had five different RZ bodies and my last one I sold about 10 years ago with multiple backs the AE prism, bellows and the worthless winder. I used to carry that thing around handheld all the time including with a giant profoto ring flash on it loaded with NPH or NPZ. it's kind of a waste for how he uses it running around taking pictures of abandon and decaying things. That was the fashion studio workhorse for everybody

Timothy Gasper's picture

I still shoot with the Hassleblad 500 CM, Fuji GX680, Mamiya C330 and Rollei 6006. I do love the RB 67, but was never that interested in the RZ. It's a damn good camera though. Just don't really have a need for it. I really like that I can change out backs whenever I need to, except on the Mamiya of course. The lenses on the Hasselblad, Fuji and Rollei are astounding.

Michael Harris's picture

My favorite street medium format is the Bronica RF645. I still own one I found brand new in the box a little while back. I have 2 of the 3 lenses made for it.

Gregory Drew's picture

When deciding between the RB67 and the RZ67, I decided to go with the RB67 because it’s fully mechanical and the RZ67 is not. I got burned once by choosing the Nikon FE over the Nikon FM and swore that I would never again go electronic if there’s a fully mechanical version available.

Mike Ditz's picture

One of the best cameras I have used, but the grip or at least a neckstrap would help because it is pretty heavy.
Funny that neither guy knew how to reload the camera...I rarely say it but RTFM as reloading seemed to be a major gripe for them.
I may have missed it but were they aware of the rotating back? That was the great thing about this camera as opposed to the 6x6 Hasselblads the the non RZ/RB photographers used in the commercial world.

Really quite surprised about the lack of local folks in those neighborhoods in LA.

Paul Trantow's picture

"Should You Buy a Mamiya RZ67?" Of freakin course, you should! They're amazing!

Rodney Johnson's picture

It makes a Hasselblad V series kit seem light! I so rarely do studio work so it really doesn't makes sense for me. On the other hand, the Mamiya 7 and its sharper glass I'd take backpacking in a heartbeat!